How to improve the patient experience – Sustainably


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At the recent Beryl Institute conference on Patient Experience, Rhonda Dishongh, Director of Patient Experience Design at Memorial Hermann Hospital System and I presented a case brief on our work there. This time, our talk was focused on “Achieving patient experience excellence through cultural transformation”. Rhonda was keen to get the message out that the key to sustainable improvements in Patient experience and therefore patient satisfaction is cultural transformation. This transformation has to be organic – grown and nurtured from the inside. It will not happen simply by mandate. You will not make it happen by creating great sounding policy alone.

If you boil it all down, there are four key ingredients to successful cultural transformation:

Leadership – The leaders are required to demonstrate and set the stage for the transformation. They need to be servant leaders – leaders who live the new culture’s values. The Servant Leader was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader.

Motivation – The trick is to get employees to be internally motivated. One of the benefits of the healthcare sector is that many of the workers in the sector are there because they wanted to make a difference. They feel there is a greater purpose than just earning a nice pay check. Patient experience transformation works in your favour in this light. It just needs to be translated as such. What does not work is external based motivation- money and management by fear and intimidation are external motivators. They can generate behavioural change (often negative) but in isolation they never produce positive sustainable cultural transformation.

Coaching – The central method of showing the way is about micro teaching that can occur organically throughout the workday. These of course can and should be bolstered by workshops or classroom based modules but the emphasis should be placed on the coaching opportunities. In fact, one of the markers of the transformation is that the coaching culture is adopted by employees outside of management.

Measurement – It is obvious you will have HCHAPS as one source of measurement but that is a mandated outcome metric you want to improve. You need interim local metrics as well to give direction to the change. It is these local metrics that alert you to opportunities to coach, compliment and correct in-between HCHAPS scoring.

If intersected in more specifics on how these four elements played out at Memorial Hermann Hospital Stem, click here.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Qaalfa Dibeehi
Qaalfa Dibeehi is the author of "Achieving Customer Experience Excellence" and "Customer Experience Future Trends and Insights". He has 20+ years experience in the customer experience related space with particular emphasis on organisations that have a dual commercial and social/community responsibility. He is Non-Executive Director at Emerge. Previously, he was Chief Operating and Consulting Officer at Beyond Philosophy and Director at Fulcrum Analytics. He has an MBA from NYU and three other Masters Degrees from City U. of New York in Statistics, Psychology and Health Care Administration.


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